Are you as annoyed as I am by that nauseatingly amorphous phrase “Happy Holidays?” You may be interested to know that the mindset behind the term precedes America’s postmodern love affair with political correctness, tracing back to good ol’ fashioned Cold War Communism (PC’s uglier big sister).
Indeed, today’s secularist war on Christmas (yes, the one that, like God, many liberals deny exists) was waged, in large part, when Communists began attempting to supplant the deity of Christ (and His associated Judeo-Christian principles) with the false deity of the State.
Ronald Reagan once spoke to this noteworthy historical factoid during a Christmas radio broadcast about the Ukraine’s war on Christmas. The great Gipper noted: “When the Ukraine was free and not under Soviet bondage, Christmas was, of course, the religious event that it is in the Western world.”
But as part of an effort to suppress the Gospel message and the spread of Christianity in Soviet Russia, Communist leaders secularized a favorite Ukrainian Christmas carol, “Nova Radist Stala” (Joyous News Has Come to Us).
One verse originally began: “The joyous news has come which never was before. Over a cave above a manger a bright star has lit the world, where Jesus was born from a virgin maiden …”
“Now, of course,” continued Reagan, “[public Christian expression] was neither fitting nor permitted under Communism. Still the commissars were a little leery about an outright ban. They chose to allow the song after some rewriting.”
The new version went: “The joyous news has come which never was before, a red star with five tails has brightly lit the world.” A second rewrite went further: “The joyous news has come which never was before. Long-awaited star of freedom lit the skies in October [the month of the Revolution].” The rewrite continued: “Where formerly lived the kings and had the roots their nobles, there today with simple folks, Lenin’s glory hovers.”
As noted in a recent Liberty Counsel release on the subject: “The former Soviet Union eventually banned Christmas commemorations. St. Nicholas was replaced with ‘Did Moroz,’ or Grandfather Frost. This Stalinist creation wears a red cap and long white beard of Santa Claus, but he delivers gifts to children on New Year’s Eve. Christmas trees were also banned...
“Christians in the former Soviet Union exhibited bravery and courage in confronting Communism’s anti-Christmas campaign. One person recalled how the young people would go out in the streets and sing Christmas carols, knowing that if police heard them, they would be arrested.
“In Communist Romania, Rev. Geza Palffy, a Roman Catholic priest, delivered a sermon in 1983, protesting against the fact that December 25th had been declared a work day instead of a holiday. The next day he was arrested by secret police, beaten, imprisoned and died.
“Inside and outside the Iron Curtain, Ukrainians never stopped singing: ‘We beg you our Lord, we pray to you today. Grant us freedom, return glory to our Mother Ukraine.’ Mr. Reagan ended his broadcast: ‘I guess we all hope their prayer is answered.’ Indeed it was.
“The secularization of Christmas is nothing new. Christianity Today in 2002 reported that in the Vietnamese province of Dak Lak, children’s choirs were forbidden to sing ‘Silent Night.’ From 1969 to 1997, Christmas was banned in Cuba. Such examples are endless.”
Now it’s our turn. The Commies’ modern-day American counterparts have picked-up where the Reds left off. Secular elitists within academia, the courts, the media and elsewhere proudly carry Communism’s anti-Christian mantle, goose-stepping en masse over the Christmas Nativity.
Of course secularist groups such as the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State feverishly lead the charge, waving rhetorical hammer and sickle overhead.
For example, in 2005, religious bigots at Ridgway Elementary School in Dodgeville Wisconsin – ostensibly spurred-on by the ACLU’s anti-Christian disinformation campaign – followed Communist Vietnam’s lead, secularizing “Silent Night” for the school’s “winter program.”
They renamed the beloved carol “Cold in the Night” and changed the words to remove any reference to Mary or Jesus. The newly secularized version now began: “Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm.” (Must’ve been hard to keep down your egg nog.)
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said of the case: “The law is clear – Christmas is constitutional. When a public school intentionally mocks Christian Christmas songs by secularizing their content, they cross the line from a neutral position, which the Constitution requires, to a hostile position, which the Constitution forbids. Changing ‘Silent Night’ to ‘Cold in the Night’ – come on, let's stop this madness! Does the school not realize that Christmas is a national holiday?”
Indeed, the ACLU, Americans United and other anti-Christian organizations and individuals, continue their systematic campaign of bullying and harassment still today. These secularist Grinches sue scores of public schools and other state entities across the country every year for inclusion of “Silent Night” or other Christ-centered carols, as well as for publicly displaying any authentic Christmas symbols such as the Nativity scene.
They do this despite the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled, unequivocally, that such carols are perfectly constitutional and appropriate in any public forum (including government schools) so long as there is, included, a “legitimate secular purpose.”
That is to say, so long as secular carols and symbols such as Rudolph, Santa and Frosty are integrated. In fact, the courts have ruled that it’s viewpoint discrimination – which is unconstitutional – not to include such Christian symbols.
Still, the PC police aren’t satisfied merely to secularize every public forum in America. They’ve also badgered private companies, retailers and even private citizens to the point that Christmas – a congressionally approved national Holiday since the 1800s – is now vaguely referred to as “the Holidays.”
You need only watch television or walk through a shopping mall to see that nearly all reference to Christ or Christmas has been removed in a manner reminiscent of the aforementioned Soviet Union. (“Christmas Trees” are now “Holiday Trees” and snow men stand-in for Jesus, Mary and Joseph.)
So the next time you hear someone say “Happy Holidays,” remember that what they’re actually saying – perhaps innocently enough – is “Happy Holidays, Comrade.” They’re playing right into the secularist agenda that seeks to replace the God of the universe with the god of government.
And although, despite the best efforts of Communists abroad and ACLU-types here at home, we’re nonetheless assured in Scripture that, “Every knee will bow... and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11) – I still think that a politically correct greeting of “Happy Holidays” – well-meaning as it may be – nonetheless deserves a hearty “Merry Christmas” in return.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).